Kevin Ryan Quoted in “Working with Non-Physician Providers”

Medical Economics

Kevin J. Ryan, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Chicago office, was quoted in Medical Economics, in “Working with Non-Physician Providers,” by Julie Miller.

Following is an excerpt:

As physicians look for new ways to increase productivity, they might consider the benefits of employing physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs). Trends indicate these types of advanced practice providers (APPs) are filling gaps in patient care and helping to extend the doctor’s reach. …

Generally, a PA is subject to a state’s board of medicine regulations, while an NP will be governed by a state’s board of nursing regulations, says Kevin Ryan, JD, a member of the law firm Epstein Becker Green.

“Even though the professional acts of the physician assistant and the nurse practitioner may be very similar, the supervision and collaboration requirements, if any, may be very different between the two,” Ryan says. …

In states where NPs can practice independently, the physician wouldn’t have liability for the NP’s actions. However, a PA is almost always required to have a collaborative agreement with a physician, according to Ryan.

“In states that require oversight and collaboration agreements, the risk to the physician will depend on whether the physician met the statutory obligations for oversight as well as the requirements in the collaboration agreement,” he says.

If the physician is required to audit 10 percent of the PA’s charts on a regular basis, for example, liability would be related to whether the physician fulfilled the obligation. Ryan says risk for supervising physicians is minimal when they meet their contractual and state requirements.